The Green Bay Packers will be taking on the Carolina Panthers in Week 15 with the heralded NFC North franchise fresh off of a win over the lowly Detroit Lions. However, last week’s victory for the Packers was much more than just a win over a divisional rival as a New Orleans Saints loss at the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles allowed Green Bay to move into first place in the NFC standings.
As it stands today, the Packers hold a slim lead over the No. 2 seeded Saints for the top spot in the conference, which means that each and every game from here on out will be equally as important for Green Bay regardless of the opponent. Because the NFL changed its playoff format ahead of the 2020-21 campaign, only the No. 1 seed in each conference will receive a first-round bye come the postseason so the final three weeks of the regular season just got very interesting for the Packers.
Despite the fact that the Packers are supposed to beat the Panthers on paper as Carolina is ailing in a big way at the moment and has remained in the middle of the pack for the majority of the year, Green Bay must come to play in order to keep its season moving in the right direction at the right time.
1. Aaron Rodgers will surpass 300 yards through the air
There is no modern-day Packers without future Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who might just be the front-runner for the 2020 NFL MVP Award heading into his team’s Week 15 matchup against the Panthers.
Rodgers has been impressive, effective and efficient throughout the regular season as the Packers go as the veteran signal-caller goes—at least on offense. With Rodgers continuing his stellar play week after week, this go-round against the Panthers should be no different.
If the Packers are firing on all cylinders from the jump against Carolina, Rodgers should be able to throw for well over 300 yards against the Panthers. With the likes of wide receivers Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling, in addition to the presence of breakout tight end Robert Tonyan, at his disposal, Rodgers knows exactly what is at stake moving forward as the NFL MVP front-runner surely won’t take it easy on Carolina’s defense in Week 15.
2. Marquez Valdes-Scantling will be the Packers’ leading receiver
While veteran wide receiver Davante Adams is no doubt the team’s No. 1 pass-catcher, the Packers have found themselves a few reliable options alongside the outside in addition to the former Fresno State standout. While Rodgers always seems to find Adams at the perfect times, it has actually been fellow Packers wideout Marquez Valdes-Scantling that has been the team’s most dangerous deep threat as of late.
Although Adams receives most of the acclaim, and rightly so, Valdes-Scantling has used the presence of his Pro Bowl teammate to his advantage en route to regularly getting open for Rodgers down field. Even though Adams manages to find the end zone on a regular basis, Valdes-Scantling has helped lead the Packers down the field and into the red zone pretty regularly, which will go a long way come playoff time. With the Panthers up next for Green Bay, it is entirely possible that Valdes-Scantling leads the Packers in receiving yards in Week 15.
3. Davante Adams will score multiple TDs
It is no secret that Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has a favorite target. The Packers know it, the fans at home know it and even opposing defenses know it—though this does not mean that the other 31 NFL franchises are able to stop it. With Rodgers finding Pro Bowl wide receiver Davante Adams all over the field and mostly in the end zone, the longtime Packers tandem can do no wrong at this stage of the 2020-21 regular season.
Adams recently caught Rodgers’ 400th career touchdown pass while also hauling in his 200th a few years back; this duo hasn’t been able to be slowed down for quite some time with no end in sight either. Although the Packers do have a solid and sound rushing attack behind a slew of talented running backs led by Aaron Jones, it quickly becomes the Rodgers and Adams show when Green Bay makes it way down into the red zone.
Of course, the Packers don’t rely solely on Rodgers to Adams, but head coach Matt LaFleur seemingly refuses to not take at least one shot via the passing game when his team is just outside the end zone. Regardless of whether or not Adams is racking up receiving yards up and down the field, he always seems to find the end zone at least once a game in 2020-21. However, with the Panthers slated to serve as Green Bay’s Week 15 opponent, the Packers’ top target will more than likely register multiple scores come Sunday.
4. Packers defense will hold Panthers to fewer than three TDs
The Carolina Panthers have been hampered by significant injury trouble all season long while Week 15 shouldn’t be any different. Most notably, All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey has been bogged down by a few different setbacks in 2020-21 while his extended absence certainly hasn’t helped the Panthers.
Even with fellow Carolina running back Mike Davis filling in well at times, the team’s offense just isn’t the same when McCaffrey isn’t at full strength. There is a chance that McCaffrey plays against the Green Bay Packers in Week 15, but a stout defensive front should match up well with what the Panthers can do on offense. Even with some talented wide receivers in Carolina, the presence of McCaffrey changes the Panthers’ offensive attack completely as the offense must go through the versatile running back, who can truly do it all.
If the Packers can contain the Panthers wideouts along the outside and deep down the field, Carolina shouldn’t score more than 20 points come Sunday.